I’m working on an article about my new children’s book, when the doorbell rings. I ignore it. It’s the middle of the day, so it’s probably just somebody trying to sell something. The doorbell rings again, and I ignore it again. But then there is a loud pounding on the door, so I get up and go downstairs to peek out and see what’s up.

There is an older African-American woman standing on my porch, and I shake my head so she can see through the top window of my locked door that I’m not interested in whatever she’s offering. She then holds up my new children’s book, Let’s Stay Pure, which I don’t even have a copy of yet. My eyes, and the door, open very wide.

It turns out that minutes before the garbage truck came to her house, Mrs. Williams “just happened” to glance at the garbage waiting in her backyard, I’m working on an article about my new children’s book, when the doorbell ringsperhaps to check if the boy who mowed her lawn had tied up the bag of lawn clippings. But then she noticed an unfamiliar box thrown in with her garbage. The cardboard box delivered by UPS was ripped open, and she found my name and address on the address label. This lovely lady tried unsuccessfully to find my number in the phone book, but when she wasn’t able to do that, she walked quite a distance to find my house. I figure that someone must have stolen the UPS box off my porch and then, realizing the contents didn’t have much resale value in his circles, dumped it in Mrs. Williams’ trash.

We grab a box of cookies and go back together to her house to pick up my books. Mrs. Williams explains that she opened one of the books, and when she saw that it was about “helping people and being good,” she knew she had to find me. “We got to look out for each other,” she says, as she helps me get the box of books from her porch.

It has been raining, so the box is soggy, the books are wet, and some are muddy. What is clear is that the thief or thieves were clearly not interested in reading a book called Let’s Stay Pure.

UPS lets me know that another box was delivered the same day, and it turns out to be a wedding gift for our newly married children—which the thief did not toss in Mrs. Williams’s garbage. Police let us know that drug dealers are thought to live in the house across from Mrs. Williams, and they say that they will keep an increased watch on the goings-on around that particular residence. Let’s Stay Pure is already encouraging goodness while routing out evil—and this is before it’s even released!

As I’m cleaning the mud off the books, I realize that this whole episode mirrors one of the important messages in the book: No matter what dirt tries to attach to our souls—and it surely will—our souls remain pure. We just need to learn how to see that. We need to learn what helps us access our souls, what nurtures them.

A soul is like the one last cruse of pure oil that was found when our Holy Temple was It has been raining, so the box is soggy, the books are wet, and some are muddydesecrated by the Greeks. Extracted from all the trash, it was found intact, and miraculously its light continued to shine for eight days. On Chanukah, we celebrate that despite the personal abuse an individual may have suffered, and the collective abuse we may have endured as a people, our soul remains pure and its light can still miraculously shine.

Like that small cruse of oil, my Let’s Stay Pure books were miraculously extracted from the garbage. And, come to think of it, so was I. I think that’s why I write my books—because as I child, I longed to know about my essence and how to give it the nourishment it craved. Children are able to grasp that their essence is spiritual more readily than adults, as they usually don’t have as many barriers covering their core. And children’s souls need to be protected as much as possible, so that garbage does not obstruct their pure, wondrous light.